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Seven actors, 40 roles

Started by students, theatre group sets up base in the city after touring country.

entertainment Updated: Jun 19, 2010 12:45 IST
Jayeeta Mazumder

What began in 1991 as a small skit by the students of Manipal University in the quaint town, gradually became a registered trust in Karnataka, staging plays in major cities in the country. The theatre group, Dramanon, is now setting up base in Mumbai, opening with a play that has seven actors from the city itself.

How it began
Radhika Ahuja, a 26-year-old professional, who’s bringing the group down to Mumbai, is also directing the play titled, The Original Last Wish Baby, written by William Seebring. “Dramanon was formed by a group of students and the aim was to get like-minded people together. As those students moved out, some started Dramanon in Hyderabad and the others in Bangalore. Since I was associated with the group in my college days at Manipal, I decided to start it in Mumbai too. So I, along with a couple of friends from the production, recruited a few people who were passionate about theatre,” she informs.

The actors of the premiere show are all working people, but there are no boundaries as to who can be part of the production. Ahuja says, “We want to reach out to more people — be it students, housewives, working people. We’re open to explore opportunities to expand in Mumbai. And we’ll do more shows depending on the audience’s response.”

Directing a play in Mumbai for the first time, Ahuja says that they wanted to do something unique. “Each character will be playing five to six roles or more. The seven actors will play over 40 roles. There’s a strong vein of criticism of popular culture and sensationalism. The play is definitely not for children,” she warns.

About the play
The Original Last Wish Baby is a blend of black humour, pathos and unexpected moments of comedy. The play’s radical element lies in its brilliant roller coaster scripting. It’s about a man who has sex with two women on the same night. One woman delivers the baby without a heart and the other delivers only a heart. The incident comes under the spotlight, as the media goes on to make a hoopla about it and everyone starts laughing off a real situation.